Architecture Leadership and Management in Globally Distributed Software Development

Raghvinder S. Sangwan, Johannes Ros

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Globally distributed software development is inherently difficult. The fundamental problem is that communication, coordination and control mechanisms that operate so naturally and invisibly in co-located projects are not available or not as effective for distributed teams. Maintaining a shared up-to-date understanding of the system under design among distributed teams separated by physical, temporal, and cultural distances, therefore, becomes challenging. Under such circumstances the role of a project architect takes on an added significance. The architect must bridge the gaps that exist among the distributed teams especially those with interrelated tasks. Bridging gaps across teams requires proactive effort to create, among distributed teams, a shared level of understanding of the system context, its problem domain and an overarching vision of the system to be designed. We call this a shared project context. Establishing a shared project context goes a long way in creating architectural artifacts, understanding dependencies across software elements of the architecture and the allocation of their development to the distributed teams. Lack of such a context leads to the creation of multiple realities promoting ignorance, confusion and frustration, which subsequently undermine mutual trust and make inter-team communications less effective. This vicious cycle leads to dysfunctional teams, inefficiencies in the project and ultimately to poorly designed architectures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1373313
Pages (from-to)17-21
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering
StatePublished - 2008
Event30th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE 2008 - 1st International Workshop on Leadership and Management in Software Architecture, LMSA'08 - Leipzig, Germany
Duration: May 11 2008May 11 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software


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